Tuesday, June 14, 2016


I was up early and tired at the thought of going to work.  Imediately I was thinking about all the stuff I have to do once I get to work.

I rushed through my morning routine and started my drive to work.  I saw a rainbow.  It was faint at first and then became clearer as I focused on it.  It was beautiful and a great reminder to look a little closer.

And then...I saw a second rainbow!  Taher, sometimes you just have to open your eyes and look for the rainbow.  Look closely and there'll be more than one.

Sunday, June 05, 2016


I've read and learned some things and that have had me thinking about what I want to focus on this year. I'm having a hard time finding a single word to describe it. The closest I can think of is "steer". It does a good job of helping me frame my thoughts about another topic, control. 

I recently learned about the importance of the perception of control and how that influences the brain. Specifically, the perception of control influences the ability to motivate ourselves. Basically, if you think and reinforce your thinking to believe something is not in your control then it won't be. For example, if I say to myself, "I'm not able to climb that mountain because I was born without being able to" I won't try to.  Instead, just framing this a bit differently, "I took one step, I can become strong enough to take another" can give me the motivation to be to be stronger.  If I believe I did it then I can do more. This realization has changed the way I will interact with Yusuf and Nooriya when trying to motivate them. 

The perception of control is an exercise in framing a situation. I'm realizing more and more that so much is in my control. There ain't no mountain....

I've also read a book that had me thinking about time and how we think about it. It also forces me to think that once we didn't count it at all. There are some words of the author I want to remember 

Consider the word “time.” We use so many phrases with it. Pass time. Waste time. Kill time. Lose time. In good time. About time. Take your time. Save time. A long time. Right on time. Out of time. Mind the time. Be on time. Spare time. Keep time. Stall for time. There are as many expressions with “time” as there are minutes in a day. But once, there was no word for it at all. Because no one was counting...And [then] everything changed.

As with so many times before in my career, I'm bogged down with work and I'm climbing out of some mental cave to get perspective on what's more important. Recently, I was witness to something in some one else's life that was way more important. He even showed me the state of his work and reminded me that wasn't very important. 

I've spent a couple days thinking carefully about what's more important and it's in my control to steer my thoughts to what's more important while I have time (since I can't help counting the time).

Sunday, March 13, 2016

washing the dishes

Last night we had a bunch of our family over for dinner.  It went great and it's so nice to make the connection to family stronger.  It's also great to have more people come to my house and make stronger the association that this is is where Zahra, Yusuf, Nooriya and I live.

I woke up and found a sink full of dishes.  I started washing them.  All I was doing was washing them.  Not so we could use them again, but JUST washing them.  The last several weeks have been full of planning for this or getting ready for that.  I spent so much energy preparing one way or another for the future.  I was always on the move mentally or physically or both.

Then I started washing the dishes this morning.  It anchored me in time and I was so appreciative of dirty dishes.  Thanks dishes.

I need to wash the dishes more often.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016


I thought my bracelet wearing days were over.

A couple weeks ago, though, Nooriya made a rainbow loom bracelet.  I had thought her rainbow loom days were almost gone.  I thought she had moved past bracelets.

She came to me and gave me the bracelet she made using pink and green rubber bands.  As she gave it to me she explained, "Pink is my favorite color and green is yours."  I've been proudly wearing it since.

It's on my wrist now and it reminds me that I have this strong bond with the kids even though they may not show it the way they used to and that they're not "too" old yet.

Thanks Nooriya.  The bracelet is one of the most meaningful possessions I have.

Saturday, November 21, 2015


and excited. We moved into our house finally. 

It feels amazing. I woke up the first morning and got ready for the day, but everything was new. I didn't know what the light switches operated or which way to turn the handle for hot water.  It sounds annoying, but it forced me to pay attention to every detail.  Everything is so new. I'm noticing so much and I'm so aware. Taher, it shouldn't take moving houses to feel like this. 

The house is so beautiful. It is the nicest place I've ever lived and things are coming together so well. EVERYTHING inside is just like I want it. The location is in between all the places I go. The house is set up for all the stages of life. It's perfect.

It's fantastic and I appreciate this whole house experience so much. But it's made it really clear to me that it doesn't matter much. I already had all the things that really matter. Taher, don't lose sight of that. 

Nooriya lost her first tooth tonight and we moved into our new home just in time;)

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Happiness, Boredom, Little things...

I have some random thoughts on happiness, boredom, little things, and other miscellaneous "stuff" I want to write down and remember.  This may be more stream of consciousness than anything.

I have been super busy lately.  I can't really articulate what has been keeping me busy.  I guess that's just indicative that it's not that important.  I've been too busy to really even write this down.  I was reflecting on boredom as part of being so busy.  Ironically, I've been too busy with stuff and mentally busy to be bored lately.  Lately, I feel I've been filling the time so that I can avoid being bored.  That's dumb.  It's good to be bored and know how to deal with that.  Dealing with being bored is something we teach the kids how to deal with.  Be bored more Taher.

Despite my best efforts, lately it's been difficult to pay attention to the little things. I've at least been aware of this deficiency. I've been lucky to have the reminder  of the kids asking me, "abba can you [fill in the blank] with me?"  It's tempting to answer with something other than YES!  Sometimes other stuff gets in the way, but far more often than anything else the response should be YES!  Before long the kids won't ask much. Taher, this is life and don't let other stuff get in the way.  

I've been learning some stuff about happiness.  We are somewhat predisposed to be happy. This "equilibrium" is roughly half of our happiness or unhappiness. It's not that exact, but it's a lot. Fortunately, there's half or so that's not predisposition.  New meaning for seeing the glass half full. Taher, the glass is half full. 

Also, I learned that kids who have happy parents are more likely to be happy. That's pretty awesome motivation to figure out how to be happier. Do it for the kids Taher;)

Saturday, October 31, 2015


I'm rereading a book I read long ago.  It's by a physicist and one of my favorites.  This time I'm taking away two main points from the book I think the author is making - things are random and humans are not made to understand randomness.

The book opens with a perspective on randomenss that's quite beautiful.  The author writes it really well, "the outline of our lives, like the candle's flame, is continuously coaxed in new directions by a variety of random events that, along with our responses, determine our fate."  He starts with a story about how his parents may never have met if not for some "chance" event.  The story is beautiful and results in me reading this book, but I don't...can't accept his descriptions of events as random.

This last couple weeks for me have been filled with stuff that has ranged the spectrum from unbelievably good to tragic.  This last couple weeks included the family getting to be with Moula during ashara and the terrible news of people close passing away.  Lots of feelings and words come to mind.  A lot of things came together, but never have I felt it was random.

Recent events have forced me to block out distractions and think about what's important and how I got here.  It's not an accident; it's not random.  Today's experience at masjid helped me see that clearly.  A stranger was there to help mumineen when they needed help.  He selflesssly helped them.  He came to masjid today and saw how many people's lives he touched with his actions.  You get what you give Taher whether you see it or you don't.

I disagree with the author's premise that things are just random.

The author's second point that humans are not made to understand randomness.  Our brains just aren't wired to understand.  The arguements are specific to making decisions and using the available information, but I think the point is more universal.

Humans are not made to understand.

Taher, remember your priorities.  Love is part of all the important ones even though love is someting you'll never truly understand.